Celebrities | Anorak - Part 20

Celebrities Category

Celebrity news & gossip from the world’s showbiz and glamour magazines (OK!, Hello, National Enquirer and more). We read them so you don’t have to, picking the best bits from the showbiz world’s maw and spitting it back at them. Expect lots of sarcasm.

How Old Is Russ Kane?

HOW old is comedian Russ Kane?

Last weekend, the Sunday Times told us:

Kane, 33, is an Edinburgh Comedy award-winning comedian and television presenter with 557,000 Twitter followers who has fronted three shows on BBC3. Since Tony Hall, the corporation’s director-general, announced that he planned to close the BBC’s only television channel aimed at 16 to 34-year-olds he has become a crusader for the rights of the “yoof”.

Kane is of his audience.

 “No one listens to us, no one gives a sh*t about us,” he says. “We’re one of the few countries where our young people don’t go out protesting. We’re too busy ‘neknominating’ [taking part in an online drinking game] each other and waxing our eyebrows off. So the problem is that we have a very quiet voice and you injure the group who is less likely to hit back.”

Wikipedia says Kane is old than 33:

Russell Kane (born 19 August 1975)

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Posted: 13th, March 2014 | In: Celebrities | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Lindsay Lohan Compiles A Cast List Of Everyone She’s Slept With In Hollywood’s Petrie Dish

CELEBRITIES, really, are supposed to be badly behaved. What is the point of being wealthy, popular and good looking if you’re not goin to rinse it for all it is worth? As fame is more likely to leave you than stay with you for life, you should spend your time in the limelight leading the life we’d all like to do, if only we could throw sickies off work for months at a time and money wasn’t an issue.

And so, to the brilliant Lindsay Lohan who had problems with drugs, drink, driving, jewels, fist fights and rehab, all the time, managing to do some acting and show off her boobies in some magazines.

As well as all that, she managed to have sex with some of the most famous people in the world, cementing our plebian jealousy.


lohan sex list Lindsay Lohan Compiles A Cast List Of Everyone Shes Slept With In Hollywoods Petrie Dish


In Touch magazine claims that Lindsay, while dossing about with friends at a hotel, wrote a list of 36 former shag buddies encountered in Hollywood’s Petrie Dish. The names included James Franco, Heath Ledger, Colin Farrell, Justin Timberlake, Zac Efron and Adam Levine.

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Posted: 13th, March 2014 | In: Celebrities | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Finally! The Malaysia Airlines MH370 Mystery Gets A Celebrity Face

FINALLY! With Katie Price discussing the Oscar Pistorius trial in Now magazine, it’s been left to Uri Geller to find a solution to the question’ What happened to Malaysia Airlines MH370?’

I have been asked to help. I believe in remote viewing. Can you help me? Can you please try to ‘see’ where YOU bel

Screen shot 2014 03 13 at 15.33.30 Finally! The Malaysia Airlines MH370 Mystery Gets A Celebrity Face


Can the spoon bender solve the puzzle?

Screen shot 2014 03 13 at 15.34.18 Finally! The Malaysia Airlines MH370 Mystery Gets A Celebrity Face


Is that the shadow of the missing jet over Uri’s face?



Posted: 13th, March 2014 | In: Celebrities | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Like, A Justin Bieber Fan Talks To A Newspaper

ROXY, a Justin Bieber fan, has been speaking to a Canadian newspaper:


justin bieber roxy Like, A Justin Bieber Fan Talks To A Newspaper



“He should, like, learn from his mistakes, but as the same time, like, young he’s like young still and he just, like, there’s a lot of pressure like on him right now and like, I just like, I just think people should just back off” – Roxy, Justin Bieber fan.”


Posted: 13th, March 2014 | In: Celebrities | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Watch Staircases to Nowhere: Making Kubrick’s The Shining

kub 1 Watch Staircases to Nowhere: Making Kubricks The Shining


STANLEY Kubrick’s The Shining has yet to get a dread sequel. Those film executives seeking to milk the success of the hit movie can watch Staircases to Nowhere, featuring words from the film’s producer Jan Harlan,  Christiane Kubrick and Brian Cook, the First Assistant Director.




Posted: 13th, March 2014 | In: Film | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Bryan Cranston: Teen Heartthrob

sidebyside breaking bad Bryan Cranston: Teen Heartthrob


AS hard as it may be to imagine that the dark and intense meth maker of Breaking Bad was once a teen heartthrob, it’s true.  In the mid-1980s Bryan Cranston was a dreamboat for teenage girls.  So, when I came across the March 1985 issue of Teen Talk magazine, I couldn’t help but share his wonderfully cheesy pictorial.  In light of the hardcore image Cranston acquired from Breaking Bad, it’s all the more humorous to see him described as an affable Prince Charming.


7428627916 a40287749d h Bryan Cranston: Teen Heartthrob


The issue also featured the likes of Duran Duran, Ralph Macchio, Prince, and Menudo.  Poor Cranston didn’t have enough celeb status to get a mention on the cover.  But the future Heisenberg did warrant a two page spread entitled “Bryan Cranston: He’s a Good Sport”.   The article begins:

If you’re a fan of ABC-TV’s “Loving” you’ve probably fallen in love yourself – with actor Bryan Cranston.  His character, drama professor Doug Donovan, is the resident good guy: sensitive, vulnerable and more than a little good-looking.  So when Bryan recently called TEEN TALK and invited us to join him in his work out in Manhattan’s Central Park, we jumped at the chance.


closeup1 Bryan Cranston: Teen Heartthrob

“If you were a bat, could you keep your eye on the ball?” Actually, with those short-shorts, it would be pretty hard not to spot a ball (or two).


The article continues:

To our delight, we discovered that the real-life Bryan is every bit as nice as Doug, and he’s a great athlete, too.  “Growing up, I always wanted to be a baseball star,” he told us.  In high school, he played baseball, football and tennis.  Now acting is his major passion, but as you can see, he spends plenty of time keeping in shape.  “I take an hour-long aerobics class that I really enjoy, “he says.  (So do all the girls in his class!)  “I also love to play sports.”


closeup 2 Bryan Cranston: Teen Heartthrob


Last spring, Bryan organized a soap star football game – “Loving” vs. “All My Children.”  “It was fun,” he jokes, “but unfortunately, ‘All My Children’ cheated, so they beat us!”  Bryan’s next project is organizing a soap star baseball game, with good guys pitted against bad guys.  “I’d like it to be for the public,” he says.

We can’t wait for the game, but meantime, these exclusive pictures of our day with Bryan should score high with you.


closeup3 Bryan Cranston: Teen Heartthrob


And so ends this lovely bit of journalism.  I never knew Cranston was such an all-around athlete.  One minute he’s jumping rope (“Bryan’s got such great legs!”), the next he’s juggling, and the next he’s creating the purest methamphetamine on the planet…. well, that last part comes later.


closeup4 Bryan Cranston: Teen Heartthrob


Hey, actors have got to start somewhere.  It’s not uncommon for actors to rise up through the ranks, starting in soap operas and ending up critically acclaimed superstars.  However, there’s just something particularly amusing about seeing Walter White as a young buck, hamming it up for a teen magazine.


closeup5 Bryan Cranston: Teen Heartthrob

Posted: 13th, March 2014 | In: Celebrities, Flashback, Key Posts | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Fantastic Mr Fox And Mr Wes Anderson

Screen shot 2014 03 12 at 16.50.37 The Fantastic Mr Fox And Mr Wes Anderson


THE Fantastic Mr Fox And Mr Anderson:


Posted: 12th, March 2014 | In: Film | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Keith Richards Is Writing A Children’s Book. Stop Laughing

WHEN rock musicians get bored, there’s a mental ticklist of things they need to do to stop them from shrivelling up and dying.

They are: painting; an album of ‘standards’; going into ‘the movies’; poetry; acting; something to do with classical music; appearing on a documentary about a niche interest that no-one knew they had, like steam engines or fixing antique cars; and finally – children’s books.

And so, to Keith Richards, who is going for the latter and, apparently, is writing a children’s book. Although, if you’ve seen his hands lately, you’d be surprised if he could hold a pen or punch the letters on a keyboard, let alone write a whole book.

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Posted: 12th, March 2014 | In: Music | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Listen To Daft Punk, Jay Z and Kanye’s Collab Leaked Online

daft punk Listen To Daft Punk, Jay Z and Kanyes Collab Leaked Online



AT the moment, Kanye and Daft Punk (above) are so hot. Everything they do is leapt on, prompting furious debate, fandom and craziness. And then there’s Jay Z. Jay Z’s pretty much past it, but he won’t care because he’s fantastically wealthy and married to Beyonce. Like he’d care what anyone thinks about anything.

And now, with clickbait catnip, there’s a tune featuring all three artists on the same song!

The track, which you can hear below, is called ‘Computerized’ and a lot of people are having kittens. It was leaked onto a Yeezy fansite as an unreleased track. As this writer has previous in fooling the world’s press with music parodies and hoodwinkery, alarm bells went off before hearing a second of the track.

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Posted: 11th, March 2014 | In: Music | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

One Direction Go After George Osborne And Tax Dodgers

IT is usually indie fans who mock the rest of music for not being ‘real’ or doing anything worthwhile, when funnily, it is usually their favourite bands who are the most guilty of giving nothing to the world.

While everyone looks to rock music for protest, everyone’s missed the small fact that pop and hip hop have been the prime champions of hitting out against injustice. Guitar bands complain about Spotify or illegal downloads, concerned only for what they’re owed while pop and rap support Justice For The 96, hit out against corrupt police, call bullshit on the way media portrays women, stands up against bullying and berates corrupt politicians.

The latest is One Direction, who have urged their army of fans to lobby the Chancellor to hold the UK’s international aid budget steady and go after those guilty of corporate tax avoidance.

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Posted: 11th, March 2014 | In: Celebrities, Music | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Brilliant Mel Brooks Knocks Them Bandy In This 1975 Interview

PA 14735134 Brilliant Mel Brooks Knocks Them Bandy In This 1975 Interview

IN 1975, Mel Brooks appeared on Imperial College’s TV station Stoic to talk about his 1975 films Blazing Saddles andYoung Frankenstein. He sat opposite Mark Caldwell. He offers the insight that cowboys “do not make love to women in Westerns”:

“People say I am in questionable taste, you know what I mean? Well, I must tell you that I used the utmost discretion [and] I did not tell the whole truth about the Western, because they do not make love to women, you know that. They are very straight, very Christian and very with it, you know. They do make love to their horses. They do, they do. They don’t marry them, there is no formal ceremony, but they go off somewhere in the night with their horses.”


PA 12143846 Brilliant Mel Brooks Knocks Them Bandy In This 1975 Interview

On the set of “Young Frankenstein” in Los Angeles on April 1, 1974, the teenage directors of Life Times Nine” watched Mel Brooks shoot a scene in Dr. Frankenstein’s dungeon and Peter Boyle in green-monster makeup put a friendly strangle-hold on Marilyn Becker, 17.


Colin Grimshaw writes on this video:

You can see that I have left the original countdown clock at the front because he couldn’t resist being funny even before we had started to record.


Posted: 11th, March 2014 | In: Celebrities, Film, Key Posts | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Fruit of the Rhyme: 8 Songs of Fruit

Pink Floyd   Apples and Oranges Fruit of the Rhyme: 8 Songs of Fruit


THE problem with songs about food is that, well, they’re never really about food.  Tasty as brown sugar is, the Stones weren’t really singing about sucrose.  And when Robert Plant sings “Your custard pie, yeah, sweet and nice. When you cut it, mama, save me a slice” he’s not talking about pastries.  You might say it’s a time honored tradition for rock and pop musicians to use food as symbols of sex and drugs.

We certainly can’t go through them all, so let’s narrow it down and focus just on songs with fruit in the title.  Here’s a playlist that not only is interesting and fun, but also rich in Vitamin C.


1. “Apples and Oranges” by Pink Floyd



The setting is the produce section at the grocery store; however, apples and oranges are also an allusion to the differences between Syd and a girl he sees there (who, according to Syd himself, he’d been stalking for hours).

In this video, Floyd makes an appearance on American Bandstand.  Syd looks absolutely stoned out of his mind, and you can tell the cameraman takes care to avoid him as much as possible.



2. “I Am a Tangerine” by Tommy James and the Shondells



Tommy has admitted that he was hopelessly wasted when he wrote this song, and that it makes no sense whatsoever.  Don’t go reading clever allusions and metaphors into this one, folks.  When Tommy screams “Hello Banana”, he was genuinely introducing himself to a piece of fruit.



3. “Peaches’ by The Stranglers



“Peaches” is a simple song about walking up and down the beach staring at the ladies.  However, the fruit acquired a gynecological connotation by the line:

“Will you just take a look over there. Is she tryin’ to get outta that clitares?

“Clitares” being a French word for bathing suit, and I’m sure The Stranglers were well aware of how the word would get misinterpreted.  Clever bastards.



4. “Tangerine” by Led Zeppelin



Led Zep were no strangers to fruity music – let’s not forget “The Lemon Song”.  Page wrote this one during his Yardbirds days, purportedly about singer-songwriter Jackie DeShannon.  The false start at the beginning begat an interesting urban legend – that the intro was the remnant of the “the greatest song ever recorded” but the tape was destroyed, and both Plant and Page couldn’t remember how it went.  This snippet at the beginning (not in the video above) is all that remains.

It’s total bulls**t, but nonetheless it’s an urban legend that should be fostered and encouraged.  Of course, when it comes to fruit-centered urban legends, nothing will compare to the “Cranberry Sauce/I Buried Paul” conspiracy.



5. “Raspberry Beret” by Prince


600x600 Fruit of the Rhyme: 8 Songs of Fruit


Theories abound regarding the meaning of this song.  Many feel it’s just a simple story about a young nobody who becomes captivated by a woman who enters the store where he works.  Prince was under fire from Tipper Gore over his racy lyrics for “Darling Nikki”, so he wanted to tone things down a bit. But the fact that the store is owned by “Old Man Johnson” belies a dirty subtext.  After all, this is the same guy that brought you “Soft and Wet” and “Cream”.

So, what does it mean?  Some think the “raspberry beret” refers to an uncircumcised penis.  Others say it’s menstrual blood.  I say this is may be best left unanswered.



6. “Blackberry Way” by The Move



Very much in the vein of “Penny Lane”; sort of a downbeat answer to the peppy McCartney classic.  Personally, I cannot get past the “ooh-wah” bridge (at about the 1:45 mark in the video) which is lifted directly from Harry Nilsson’s “Good Old Desk”.  It’s stolen so exactly, the song is ruined for me.



7. “Cherry, Cherry” by Neil Diamond



Speaking of plagiarism, “What I Like About You” by the Romantics features a guitar riff pretty damn similar to Diamond’s “Cherry, Cherry”.  Of course, there’s always some borrowing and cross-pollination in pop music.  In fact, you could argue “Cherry, Cherry” owes some of its melody to “Dirty Water” by The Standells.

Whatever its roots, I’m inclined to agree with Rolling Stone in calling this one of the greatest three-chord songs of all time.  You’ll notice no horns or drums; that’s because this hit was actually a demo version.  Adding drums, horns and other polish detracted from the energy, so they kept the original.



8.  “Dear Delilah” by Grapefruit



I could have ended this playlist on top with “Strawberry Fields”, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” or “Blueberry Hill”.  Instead, I’ll invalidate the entire premise of this article and offer up a song without any fruit at all in its title.   The band’s name is certainly fruity enough, though.  Grapefruit was of the hallowed 60s tradition of bands naming themselves after fruit (ex. Moby Grape, The Lemon Pipers, Strawberry Alarm Clock… not to mention Apple Records).  In Grapefruit’s case, John Lennon actually named them after Yoko’s awful 1964 book.

Grapefruit’s singer is a member of the amazing Young family – the same clan that spawned AC/DC (Malcolm and Angus Young) and The Easybeats (George Young).  Grapefruit had the full support of The Beatles, but couldn’t achieve the success they no doubt expected.

You might say that everything was going peachy keen at Apple, but they wanted to be top banana, and ended up with sour grapes.

(insert sounds of crickets chirping)

Sorry.  A fruit pun was bound to happen at some point. My sincere apologies.

Posted: 10th, March 2014 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, Music | Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Lily Allen: Not Keen On Feminists

PA 8471723 Lily Allen: Not Keen On Feminists



FEMINISTS are really, if we’re being honest here, only truly great at one thing – and that’s picking holes in people’s arguments. That would be the arguments of the patriarchy, sexists and bigots and, most importantly, the arguments of other feminists.

Throwing a match on the kindling is Lily Allen, who thinks feminism shouldn’t even be a thing in 2014, stating that “everyone is equal” in the modern world.

Good news for all those children who have been victims of FGM, the women who are denied rights by backward governments and the rest.

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Posted: 8th, March 2014 | In: Lily Allen, Music | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

That Moment When Kurt Cobain Met Courtney Love

WHEN  Kurt Cobain met Courtney Love, it made it into this biography:

Already infamous in Portland, Love was holding court in a booth when she saw Kurt walk by a few minutes before his band was set to appear onstage. Courtney was wearing a red polka-dot dress. “You look like Dave Pirner,” she said to him, meaning the remark to sound like a small insult, but also a flirt. Kurt did look a bit like Pirner, the lead singer of Soul Asylum, as his hair had grown long and tangled — he washed it just once a week, and then only with bar soap. Kurt responded with a flirt of his own: He grabbed Courtney and wrestled her to the ground.

Love is…

PA 4611694 That Moment When Kurt Cobain Met Courtney Love

inger Courtney Love and her daughter Frances Bean Cobain pose as they arrive at a gala on Feb. 8, 2007, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Love, the widow of the Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain, says she intends to sell most of his belongings. “I’m going to have a Christie’s auction,” the 42-year-old singer tells the AOL music Web site The rocker committed suicide in 1994.


Spotter: Kottke

Posted: 7th, March 2014 | In: Celebrities, Flashback | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Sharon Stone Takes Just One Bottle To The Shower

SHARON Stone wants us to know:

“There was a point in my forties when I went into the bathroom with a bottle of wine, locked the door and said, ‘I’m not coming out until I can totally accept the way I look right now.’ ”

Sharon takes one bottle into the shower…

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Posted: 7th, March 2014 | In: Celebrities | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Victoria Beckham Is Looking For Her Chest

CELEBRITY Quote of the week came form the mouth of Victoria Beckham who was talking about her surgically  enhanced breasts:

 “I don’t have them anymore. I think I may have purchased them.”

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Posted: 7th, March 2014 | In: Celebrities | Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

England To Have A World Cup Song Befitting How Dull They’ll Play

PA 13809320 England To Have A World Cup Song Befitting How Dull Theyll Play



ANYONE who saw England play against Denmark last night or, indeed, have ever seen England play in any tournament of any kind, will know that everyone’s going to be treated to some spectacularly dull football.

In Brazil, it is pretty obvious that the English will wilt like old salad in the tropical heat. It’ll be a marvel if they even get out of their group, which features Luis Suarez’s Uruguay, the mighty Italy and Costa Rica.

With England’s Crapenaccio on offer, we need a song that will befit England’s laboured performances.

So step forward Gary Barlow – the dowdiest of popstars – alongside Mel C and Emma Bunton, Kimberley Walsh and Gary Lineker – who together, will record England’s official 2014 FIFA World Cup single.

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Posted: 6th, March 2014 | In: Music, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Greatest Rock Biopics: From Hendrix to Guthrie

PA 17990950 The Greatest Rock Biopics: From Hendrix to Guthrie


BIOPICS are problematic at the best of times, but get it right and you can cement a person’s place in history forever. Especially tricky are rock biopics because, half the time, the person or people they celebrate, are still alive. Or at least, they were around not that long and you can remember if they were horrible or not.

However, some rock films are better than the actual careers of the artist they pay tribute to.

Have you seen The Doors film? That’s a daft romp through 60s fluff and nonsense with some hilarious mystical sequences and leather trousers. 10,000% better than actually having to sit down and listen to anything The Doors ever committed to record. We can whip the horses eyes? C’mon! You’d much rather see one of Meg Ryan’s boobs and laugh at Billy Idol in a hippie wig!

With a biopic of Jimi Hendrix due to drop any minute now, played by Andre 3000 from Outkast, it seems like a perfect time to look at some of the finer performances in the oeuvre.


Jimi Hendrix

Let us start with the newest and most exciting biopic in a while. ‘All is By My Side’ features Andre Benjamin as the late Hendrix. We knew he was a man who could pull off Hendrix’s wild attire, but the footage doing the rounds shows that Benjamin is more than adept at doing an impression of Jimi. Have a look.




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Posted: 6th, March 2014 | In: Film, Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Three Chick Discs: Disco Era Threesomes For Your Listening Pleasures

IN the disco era there began a phenomenon of immense historical insignificance: the emergence of all female musical trios.  Sure, there had been The Supremes, and there were various disco/soul trios that genuinely kicked ass (etc. The Three Degrees, Labelle), but these bands were different.  This new breed was basically talentless, and exuded an overt sexuality (i.e. they couldn’t sing, but at least they were hot).  Every song in their entire catalog (with 0.00 exceptions) was about sex, and every performance and music video operated unflinchingly to the “sex sells” approach.

The trend extended into the 1980s, paving the way for groups like Destiny’s Child (who were less one-dimensional).  Largely forgotten in the annals of pop history, all that remains are the vinyl relics which I hereby dub “Three Chick Discs”.  Here are a few examples


“Make Love Whenever You Can” by Arabesque


arabesque Three Chick Discs: Disco Era Threesomes For Your Listening Pleasures


Make love: Do it today, don’t wait until tomorrow
Make love: The only way to wipe away your sorrow, love

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Posted: 6th, March 2014 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, Music | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The World in My Window: A Select Filmography of the Space Shuttle


shuttlespacecamp2 300x165 The World in My Window: A Select Filmography of the Space Shuttle


ALTHOUGH Alfonso Cuaron’s blockbuster film Gravity (2013) earned a whopping seven Academy Awards last Sunday night, one crucial supporting player didn’t pick up the Honorary Oscar it so clearly deserved: NASA’s space shuttle.

For thirty-five years now, this durable “space truck” — known officially as the “Space Transportation System” — has appeared in many space movies of the contemporary or realistic variety.

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Posted: 6th, March 2014 | In: Film, Flashback, Key Posts | Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Iggy Pop Wants A Kettle, Bob Hope And Fat People From Miami: The Tour Rider In Full

PA 10952467 Iggy Pop Wants A Kettle, Bob Hope And Fat People From Miami: The Tour Rider In Full


IGGY Pop, star of one of the greatest rock photos of all time, the man who faked Lou Reed’s death, Richard Wilson look alike, ToTP teddy molester, performer of the most revered failed stage dive, the man for whom the show did not always go on, has created one of the most memorable tour riders for his shows.

Well, Pop’s road manager Jos Grain has, as The Smoking Gun reports on the “Marvellous and Most Instructive Information Document…. Including Utterly Confusing Comments and Asides.”

The 2006 rider , has been followed by the 2012 tour.

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Posted: 5th, March 2014 | In: Music | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Listen To All Parts Of Robert Ashley’s Perfect Lives – The Televised American Opera

ROBERT Ashley (1930-2014). The composer was 83.


robert ashley Listen To All Parts Of Robert Ashleys Perfect Lives   The Televised American Opera



Kyle Gann, who recently wrote a biography said of the Michigan-born composer, who in 1958 created the Cooperative Studio for Electronic Music , a pointer to his eperiments with audio synthesis.

“Bob was one of the most amazing composers of the 20th century, and the greatest genius of 20th-century opera. I don’t know how long it’s going to take the world to recognize that.”

Thanks to the internet, the past never goes away. You can hear some of Ashley’s work in full.



In 1997, he spoke to Furious:

PSF: How did you decide to make your works as all being operas?

In 1975, there were no operas in America. I was interested in opera and it seemed to me that the only possible theatre for contemporary opera would be television. So I started working towards a kind of television kind of opera. I started designed the work so that it would be usable on television. I think it’s still true.

PSF: How did you see television as an ideal medium for operas?

It’s contemporary. It’s new. Many more people watch television than go to opera houses. There aren’t any opera houses in the United States. The possibilities for contemporary opera are very small. I thought when I started, it looked more promising (to work with television). Now, in the last few years, television has become much more conversative. But I still think there’s going to be a marriage of television and some form of opera. It might not happen in my lifetime but I still think it’s inevitable. The whole idea of the opera house is so dated anyway. It’s such a nineteenth century idea. Because of that probably, there aren’t any to speak of (maybe 3 or 4). It doesn’t really allow the idea of opera to really grow. I thought if I could get television interested in opera, it would make a kind of new thing that would allow composers to build a whole new repertoire.

It was more promising fifteen or twenty years ago than it is now. The first opera I did, Music With Its Roots in Ether (1976), has been broadcasted a lot. The next one I did, Perfect Lives (1980), was produced by Channel 4 in Great Britian and was shown there for two years and then throughout Europe but only parts of it have been broadcast in the United States. Now in ’97, television is so conserative that it doesn’t look promising. But I think it’ll change back. I think it’ inevitable that there has to be some new genre in television. Television goes through these periods of incorporating new things. First there was live comedy then there were soap operas then there was news and now there’s a lot of television about sports. We went through a period of MTV with pop music videos too. Television always needs new materials and it’s just a matter of time until there’s the right audience for new work that’s not just pop music. When that happens, it’ll be a very good time for composers to do serious big, narrative pieces.

PSF: Why do think there has been resistance to this kind of idea in American television?

Because they’re stupid I guess. Opera on television in Europe is very important. If you think about it in the broadest sense: a lot of the dramas made in India with music are practically operas. They’re not sung but they have a very big appeal. I don’t know why American television people are so stupid but at the moment, they just seem to have some sort of a block. They just do what they do and they do it for a certain number of years. Then it wears out and they try something else. It’s just a matter of time I think.



Brian Robison, of Cornell University, has posted on YouTube 4 American Composers, directed by Peter Greenaway in New York in 1985.

Compared to Meredith Monk and Robert Ashley, John Cage and Philip Glass are household names, yet their relative fame frequently turns on the persistence of misconceptions. All too often, even scholars who might be expected to know better portray Cage as either charlatan or nihilist. Critics in the 1980s tagged Glass’s music as “classical music for people who don’t like classical music,” suggesting his shrewd exploitation of the yuppie market. Director Peter Greenaway and producer Revel Guest weave representative musical excerpts with interviews to present the personalities more accurately, and, in so doing, establishes a broader context for listening. Perhaps the most striking revelation of these documentaries is that such notorious iconoclasts are so soft-spoken in person (compared to the shy, halting Ashley, the loquacious Monk seems downright assertive).



Ashley’s TV opera Perfect Lives was reviewed by Frieze:

As living and breathing musicology in practice, Perfect Lives explores how story­telling creates music and – tangentially – how American social models grew in tandem with musical forms from Europe and Africa. Built into the very structures of how it was written and is performed – there is no definitive score, only the libretto, some diacritic and harmonic indications, and a set of intricate time signatures to follow – Perfect Lives is about the sociability of music. Ashley realized Perfect Lives over a period of years with a number of close collaborators. (‘I only work with geniuses,’ he says. ‘In the end it pays off.’5) In a documentary made by Peter Greenaway in 1983, as part of his ‘Four American Composers’ series, Ashley said he wanted to ‘allow the performers to make musical statements as unpremeditated as speech itself’.


Perfect Lives4 Listen To All Parts Of Robert Ashleys Perfect Lives   The Televised American Opera



Ashley spoke with Alex Waterman:

What distinguishes traditional opera from any other form of narrative—like religious dramas, for example—is that most operas have a political landscape. This is especially true in Italian and German opera. You get a version of a landscape that has political meaning. I thought about that when contemplating the architecture of the opera house and how it makes those landscapes possible. Of course, that architecture is not available to me, nor would I want it to be. But the landscape has to be there however the opera is presented.

In the best of circumstances, the architecture and the music–for the people—match. But what’s happened in the last 50 to 100 years is that the music has outgrown the architecture. The instruments are old, the ideas are old—everything’s so old; it’s boring, you know? There is no architecture to deal with what we’re talking about here. I thought, There’s got to be one. And it occurred to me that our architecture might be the imaginary space behind the surface of the television screen. In other words, when you watch TV, you see whatever you see, but behind that there’s an imaginary space and maybe that’s the place for the music of our time.

It’s interesting how you can manipulate landscapes with television so that they have meaning. It’s different from having a person singing here, in my living room, which is something of a landscape. If you go outside of the personality of this room, the landscape is all of a sudden dramatically political—it’s a visual demonstration of how things work for everybody. That’s what opera is about. You’re trying to put the story in an appropriate place so that when you see it you say, Oh, that’s what the story is about!…

The landscape in Perfect Lives starts as big as possible, in The Park, and it’s described quite precisely in political terms. And then it goes to The Supermarket, which is not totally indoors. Then you get the ride through the landscape with the lovers eloping and the bank robbers driving to Indiana in The Bank episode, where you are dealing with mixed outdoors and indoors. Next, you enter the most close-range landscape, in The Bar with Rodney and Buddy talking. Then you move out again to a bigger space in The Living Room, which has more imaginary space. At the beginning of that episode, the characters talk about the Sheriff’s Wife as if she were on the South Pole and the Earth were revolving around her.


It is relentless. And mesmeric.

I.The Park (Privacy Rules)
II. The Supermarket (Famous People)
III. The Bank (Victimless Crime)
IV. The Bar (Differences)
V. The Living Room (The Solutions)
VI. The Church (After the Fact)
VII. The Backyard (T’Be Continued)







9:00pm “The Living Room” from Varispeed Collective on Vimeo.


5:00pm “The Church” from Varispeed Collective on Vimeo.

7. The Backyard

Posted: 5th, March 2014 | In: Key Posts, Music | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Janet Street-Porter Presents The Clash And The Sex Pistol’s First TV Show To Londoners In 1976

PA 6170051 Janet Street Porter Presents The Clash And The Sex Pistols First TV Show To Londoners In 1976

British punk rock band the Sex Pistols are seen in 1977. From left to right: Paul Cook, Sid Vicious, Johnny Rotten and Steve Jones.


IN November 1976, The London Weekend Show, introduced by Janet Street-Porter, took punk to the masses.

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Posted: 5th, March 2014 | In: Flashback, Music | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0